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Durban - The National Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) has called on the ANC’s national leadership to save McCord Hospital from complete closure.
Speaking to the Daily News, Nehawu provincial spokesman, Zola Saphetha, said if it did not win a court interdict against the closure, the union would announce alternative plans to save the hospital later this week.
The court hearing was postponed on Monday and was due to be heard on Tuesday.
Saphetha said the union had been consulting widely with its members on a “plan B” should the court interdict fail.
“We have been speaking to senior ANC figures as well as eThekwini mayor James Nxumalo, who have all given us an assurance that they will not sit back and see McCord Hospital close down just like that.
“Our court interdict is not just to prevent the closure but to ensure the hospital board returns to the negotiating table with the Department of Health in KZN.”
Saphetha said the union was also speaking to Health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo, who they praised for his leadership and commitment in trying to resolve the issue.
“Our talks include the possibility of absorbing health staff in state health facilities where there is a need, but that would be the last-case scenario… We are also considering taking hospital board chairperson, Professor Paulus Zulu, to the Human Rights Commission as we feel his actions in closing the hospital are unconstitutional and have denied people their right to health care.”
The union said it was ready to mobilise its members to protest outside the University of KwaZulu-Natal where Zulu is based.
“But these measures would depend on the outcome of the court process,” said Saphetha.
Meanwhile, it has emerged that an offer to purchase the doctors’ quarters on the McCord site was made earlier this year.
The Daily News reported on Monday that several senior hospital staff members had been approached to work in the former HIV Care Centre after being told it would be turned into a private medical centre.
McCord medical manager, Jay Mannie, has denied on Monday’s report that he was among those who were approached.
“The two people approached to work at the proposed medical centre (the old HIV centre called Sinikithemba) are Dr Sam Naidoo and Mr Reshan Maharaj. I was not approached.
“However, there has been an offer made to purchase the doctors’ quarters and turn it into a ‘step down’ facility,” Mannie said.
Hospital board spokesman, Gerard Ronan, confirmed an offer of purchase for the doctors’ quarters was made in May.
He said the board was approached with the offer, which it turned down.
It did not engage any further with the interested party once talks began with the Department of Health on a possible takeover.